Keep on truckin’, just with some caution

While the sun is coming up later these days and nights getting darker sooner, it isn’t stopping some people from getting in their regular walks or runs to get them started on the day or to help come down from a long day at work.

But, just like deer, people walking along the side of the road still take drivers by surprise, especially in a rural area such as North Kitsap.

Here are tips to stay safe while making sure those holiday calories don’t creep up on you, according to

• Bright clothing: Wear reflective clothing, such as light colors and reflective stripes and fabrics, any time between an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise. Make sure the walking outfit has a reflective stripe along the body line, which helps drivers see the outline of the person walking on the road. Wear a hat or headband that is reflective. A reflective safety vest is recommended and various types are available in bike sections of sporting good stores.

• Lighting: Walk in areas that have streetlights and use sidewalks or paths separated from traffic. Attach small clip-on lights or flashers to your pack or belt. Carry a flashlight or headlamp, which will help walkers see hazards, such as roots or uneven sidewalks, when walking in areas with no streetlights.

• Traffic precautions: When possible, although it’s difficult with our rural area and its limited shoulders, use sidewalks and off-road paths, take extra caution when crossing the streets and use routes often used by other walkers and runners. Walk in the opposite direction of traffic — drivers have a better chance of seeing you if you don’t walk with your back to traffic.

• Safety in numbers: Reduce the risk of being attacked by a stranger while walking at dusk or dawn by walking with a friend or a dog. Carry a hiking stick or walking poles, which can help with the exercise but also make you a less-appealing target. Walk purposefully and know where you are going.

• Change schedules: If you can’t enjoy walking in the dark, trying doing it during just before or after work or at lunch. Take longer walks on the weekends. And if it’s just too dark and cold, try various options for walking indoors, such as at indoor tracks, malls, gyms, or within business complexes.

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